10 Medical and Civil Defense Personnel Killed, and 33 Incidents of Attack on their Facilities in December 2016
SNHR has published its special monthly report that documents the violations against medical and civil defense personnel and their facilities by the conflict parties in Syria.
The report stresses that Syrian regime forces have been involved, since 2011, in targeting and bombing medical and civil defense facilities as well as the conflict parties that targeted medical and civil defense personnel in killing and arrest operations. This indicates a deliberate policy that only aims to kill more and depends the suffering of the wounded whether they were civilians or armed.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR says:
“The Russian attacks on medical and civil defense centers as well as medical and civil defense personnel are considered a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes considering the chaotic, and in many cases, deliberate, targeting of protected objects. All of this have only deepened the suffering of the wounded and injured and is one of the main reasons behind the displacement of the Syrian people as it sends a very clear message: there is no safe area, or a red line, including hospitals, you either flee or perish”
The report documents the killing of 167 medical and civil defense personnel in 2016 which are divided as follows: 77 killed by Syrian regime forces, 55 by Russian forces, 18 by ISIS, nine by armed opposition factions, and one by Kurdish Self-management forces in addition to seven killed by other parties.
The report breaks down the medical and civil defense personnel killed in 2016, where Syrian regime forces killed eight doctors, including one who died due to torture, eight paramedics, seven nurses, including three nurses, three pharmacists, including one who died due to torture, two Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteers, 37 civil defense personnel, and 12 medical personnel. Additionally, Russian forces killed four doctors, three paramedics, 16 nurses, including four women, three SARC members, 16 civil defense personnel, and 13 medical personnel including one woman. ISIS killed six doctors, including three women, nine female nurses, one SARC volunteer, and one pharmacist. Armed opposition factions killed three doctors, one nurse, one SARC female volunteer, one pharmacist, two civil defense personnel, and one medical personnel, while Kurdish Self-management forces killed one doctor. In addition, four doctors, including one woman, and three female nurses were killed by other parties.
Furthermore, the report documents 448 incidents of attack on vital medical and civil defense facilities, and SARC facilities in 2016 including 257 incidents by the Syrian regime forces who targeted 89 medical facilities, 41 ambulances, 120 civil defense centers, and seven SARC centers to a total of 257. Russian forces attacked 74 medical facilities, 55 ambulances, 38 civil defense centers, and seven SARC centers to a total of 174 incidents of attack for which Russian forces were responsible. Additionally, the report records four incidents at the hands of ISIS where two medical facilities, one ambulance, and one SARC center were targeted.
The report says that 8 incidents were at the hands of armed opposition factions in which they targeted four medical facilities, two ambulances, one civil defense center, and one SARC center. In addition, three medical facilities, and two SARC centers, five in total, were targeted by other parties.
The report documents the killing of 10 medical and civil defense personnel in December 2016 which are divided into nine killed by Syrian regime forces, and one by armed opposition factions.
The report breaks down the victims, where Syrian regime forces killed two doctors, two female nurses, one paramedic, one SARC volunteer, and three civil defense personnel, while armed opposition factions killed one doctor.
Furthermore, the report documents 33 incidents of attack on vital medical and civil defense facilities including 23 attacks that were carried out by Syrian regime forces where nine medical facilities, two ambulances, one SARC center, and 11 civil defense centers were targeted. Additionally, Russian forces were responsible for eight incidents of attack which targeted two medical facilities, one ambulance, three SARC centers, and two civil defense center. Also, the report records two incidents of attack on two SARC ambulances by other parties.
The report implements a high-level methodology for documentation which relies on survivors and families’ direct accounts in addition to the process of verifying and analyzing pictures, videos, and some medical records. However, the report notes that this documentation doesn’t include all the cases light of the ban and pursuit by Syrian regime forces and some of the other armed groups.
The report notes that Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254, which state that indiscriminate attacks must be halted, were violated in these attacks. Also, the crime of willful killing constitutes a violation of Article 8 of Rome Statute which amounts to war crimes.
Moreover, Syrian and Russian forces violated the rules of the international human rights law committing acts that constitute war crimes. Additionally, ISIS and armed opposition factions carried out acts that amount to war crimes through the crime of extrajudicial killing and targeting of vital civil centers.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps as it has been more than two years since Resolution 2139 was adopted with no pledges to cease the indiscriminate bombardment operations being made.
The report emphasizes that the Security Council has to instill peace and security in Syria and implement the norm of “Responsibility to Protect” in order to save the Syrian people’s lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, looted, and ruined. Also, sanctions must be expanded to include the Russian and Iranian regimes who have been directly involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.
The report also recommends the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) norm after all others political paths were drought out through the Arab League and then Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan. steps under Article 7 of the Rome Statute must be taken and the norm of the Responsibility to Protect, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, must be implemented as the Security Council is still hindering the protection of civilians in Syria. The report also calls for renewing pressure on the Security Council to refer the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court.
Lastly, the report urges international organizations to send volunteers to work in safe areas where wounded are sent for treatment especially after many death cases were documented where many patients died because of the limited medical resources.